Three UK to offer 4G Roaming from June

The lack of 4G roaming is a real issue for Three customers, and one that has been getting worse as 3G spectrum around the world has been getting refarmed to improve 4G coverage and data capacity.

three-logo-blackBut it appears that’s about to change, thanks to information contained within a help page on Three’s Smarty network, its ‘simple, honest mobile’ virtual network.

It’s a pretty safe bet that if Smarty will launch it, the main network will too!

The help page contains the following text:

At the moment, you can’t roam or make international calls on any of the SMARTY plans, however this will be live in June.

Also, we currently don’t support Supervoice (VoLTE) or WiFi calling. We’re hoping to offer these services in the near future.

From June, international data and texts will work over 3G (2100 MHz), 4G (1800 MHz) and 4G (800 MHz). Voice calls will only work over 3G.

The same text also mentions 4G Calling (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi Calling (VoWiFi) as services that Smarty hopes to offer users in the future. Of course, Three users already enjoy both of these services – if they have the right handset.

Until Three makes an official announcement of its own, there will still be some questions unanswered, such as whether 4G roaming will be a blanket switch on, or limited to certain partner networks from the outset and increased gradually over the coming months.

More details will no doubt come out soon from Three, given June isn’t far away (there’s even a chance Three could launch a bit sooner), but for now at least Three users can be happy that at some point in the near future they’ll be able to enjoy improved roaming.

4G roaming doesn’t just mean higher speeds, but the possibility of getting improved coverage when travelling as a lot of networks have rolled out far superior 4G networks than they ever did with 3G.

15 thoughts on “Three UK to offer 4G Roaming from June

  1. Just landed in Frankfurt and three have at *long*, *long* last enabled 4G roaming in Germany. Speeds seem decent – 10mbps down 3mbps up. A massive improvement over the incredibly patchy and dog slow 3G service I suffered with in my last trip here a month ago.

  2. I’ve just swapped from Three to EE because of the roaming issues and the difference is incredible!
    I travel a lot in the EU and had been using a Three mobile broadband SIM which is fine in the UK, but as soon as you’re roaming it’s useless.
    At first I just believed it to be normal, which ever network I choose. After a year of struggling every time I went abroad my sister who is with EE came to visit me in Germany and had a super fast connection, which made me look into it a bit more. After finding out that Three is the only UK mobile provider that doesn’t offer 4g roaming it explained it all.
    Germany for example quit expanding there poor 3g network and went straight to expanding the 4G network.
    This means that in rural areas the only choice is 2g or 4g. The 2g network hardly works and if it does it takes ages to load. The 4g network coverage in Germany is excellent, but Three won’t allow it! The same counts in the Czech republic and probably most EU countries.
    I ordered an EE SIM card for my next travels and now I can finally “feel at home” with my mobile broadband.
    A friend who came along is with Vodafone and also had an extremely fast connection.
    I’ve started advising people that Three is very good in the UK, but if you ever want to go abroad and have a mobile internet connection forget about them and choose any of the other networks.
    If Three ever allows 4g roaming I would consider using them again, but until then, bye bye Three! Your feel at home is a big false advertising lie!

  3. Just come back from France and no 4G for me, though my neighbours are doing fine on their Vodafone network. Also hacked off at the 13gb fair use policy when i pay for 12gb monthly and only use it when I’m abroad. Not only that, but the customer services insisted that all UK networks have this restriction and I now find they don’t.

  4. Three 4G roaming active from september 5th ! In Sweeden Denmark Austria and ROI more countries to be added throughout the year with USA in october/November

  5. Three 4G roaming active from september 5th ! In Sweeden Denmark Austria and ROI more countries to be added throughout the year with USA in october/November

    1. Yep, I’ve just moved from Three to EE and the jump in speeds when roaming in Europe is marked! Have a dual SIM phone though and have got a Three PAYG SIM for USA/Australia roaming, where speeds may be poor but cost at least OK!

  6. I’ve just left Three for EE. I got fed up for the atrocious speeds when abroad (and not just in the USA, even in the EU I was getting at most 3G speeds, never mind H+!). I’ve not heard anything more about them launching 4G, but I’ve not got much faith of them implementing it properly. In addition to slow roaming I also find their restrictive policy on VoLTE and VoWiFi really poor – especially when I know my OnePlus 6 supports both! Their retentions team only wanted to give some money off, didn’t say anything about an upcoming improvement in speeds.

    1. Wifi calling & VoLTE works fine on Three for me on an iPhone X, so not sure what your issue was (perhaps the phone model?)

      1. Hi Rob – yes Three support iOS devices wherever they have been bought. Sadly for Android ones they only provide the service for those devices bought direct from them. Their L2 tech support confirmed to me that this is purely a policy decision and not a technical one – indeed my OnePlus 6 worked immediately for both services as soon as I switched to EE. I like their roaming coverage (if not speeds) but unfortunately they’re currently offering non-iOS users a lesser service so they’ve lost me as a customer.

        1. Not quite true, there are Android phones that will work no matter where bought.

          I’ve used a Huawei P20 Pro bought from Vodafone on Three and got both VoWiFi and VoLTE.

        2. @Dave – interesting, didn’t know that. Regardless the support is much less widespread than on EE and something they seem to be totally uninterested in changing.

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for the article, very informative! Did you hear any more about this happening? I’m struggling to find anything on either the Three or Smarty website.



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